Innovation in Agriculture

Prelims: Administration Policy in Agriculture, Artificial Intelligence, National e-Governance Plan in Agriculture.

Mains: Benefits of AI in agriculture need for AI and human intelligence. 

Why in the news?

The Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) have recently been used by the Indian government to implement several initiatives in the field of agriculture.

What do we need to know about AI?

Simulating human intelligence in machines is the focus of the branch of computer science known as artificial intelligence (AI).

  • AI automates repetitive learning and data-driven discovery processes. AI carries out regular, high-volume, computerised tasks rather than automating manual ones. Moreover, it does so consistently and without growing weary. 
  • AI has the potential to add intellectuality to existing products. AI capabilities can improve the quality of products by adding additional features such as automation, conversational platforms, smart machines, and bots. 
  • AI uses learning algorithms to do programming and is based on the regularities in data and structure to get skills. For example, just as the algorithm acquires skills to play any game like chess, ludo, etc. Similarly, it learns what product is recommended next when someone searches for something online. 

 How is artificial intelligence used in agriculture?

  • Data Analysis: 
      • Daily, farms generate millions of data points on the ground. Now that artificial intelligence (AI) is available, farmers can analyse various real-time data, such as weather, temperature, water use, or soil conditions gathered from their farms, to help them make better decisions.
      • Farmers are also using AI to develop seasonal forecasting models to increase productivity and improve agricultural accuracy.
  • Agricultural precision
      • In order to help farmers identify pests, diseased plants, and undernourished plants, precision agriculture uses AI technology.
      • Artificial intelligence (AI) sensors can recognise and pinpoint weeds and choose which herbicides to apply within the proper buffer zone.
      • As a result, toxins and herbicides applied in excess and end up in our food are less likely to be consumed.
      • By using precision agriculture, productivity would rise.
  • Addressing the Labor Challenge
    • The challenge of a labour shortage is one that most farms are facing as fewer people enter the farming industry.
    • AI-powered agricultural robots are one way to address this labour shortage. These robots serve several purposes and supplement human labour. For example:
      • With a constant labour force, these robots can harvest crops more quickly and in greater quantities than human labourers, identify and remove weeds with greater accuracy, and lower farm costs.
      • In addition, chatbots are increasingly being used by farmers. Chatbots are useful in various tasks, including answering questions and offering suggestions for fixing particular farm issues. 

What needs to be done in the agriculture sector?

  • Due to recent reforms in the agriculture sector, there is a possibility of increased contract farming investments and technology infusion, which will lead to higher yields and productivity.
  • This will accelerate the use of AI in agriculture. Scale-up investments from the public and private sectors are also necessary to support these AI solutions.
  • In India, the emergence of agritech startups has increased dramatically due to the penetration of advanced technology and a supportive regulatory environment.
  • Adopting cutting-edge technologies like AI, ML, IoT, and blockchain in the agriculture ecosystem can only be seen as having begun.
  • The agricultural industry, largely dependent on erratic climatic conditions, is greatly aided by these collective technologies.


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